Sunday, 29 January 2012

Offa's Dyke Path - Day 2: Bodfari to Llandegla

Distance: 28km; Ascent: 1280m; Solo

After yesterday's walk, my longest for a couple of months, I slept well in my comfortable B&B.  I woke just before 7am, and after a huge breakfast I set off walking shortly after 8am in the early light of day.

On the ascent out of Bodfari
After a wander across a couple of fields, I reached a minor road that I briefly followed before picking up a bridleway that skirted round the SW slopes of Moel y Parc to reach a track junction up on the ridge.  There was a cold wind up here and it was significantly cooler than yesterday, with the sky completely overcast, although at least it was dry!

View north from Penycloddiau
After a relatively short easy ascent following grassy paths through the bracken and heather, I reached the summit of my first hill for the day at 9:30am: Penycloddiau (Marilyn), which was also an Iron Age hill-fort.  The views from here were good, including across to most of the Snowdonia ranges and the Berwyns.

On summit of Penycloddiau
I continued onwards through the heather before dropping down to the edge of some woodland and thus to a car park and minor road.  Here I entered the Moel Famau country park, which must cover a reasonable area as I was still some way away from Moel Famau itself!  After around a kilometre, I reached a path junction where I deviated from the Offa's Dyke Path to visit the summit of Moel Arthur (HuMP), which was another hill-fort.  As I descended the steep SE flank of the hill to a minor road running through another pass, it was clear to see why this particular hill had been chosen to site a hill-fort on.

Moel Arthur from the south
The climb out of the other side of the pass was quite steep for the first few hundred metres, but it did afford good views back to Moel Arthur.  Soon the ground levelled out and I followed the undulating Offa's Dyke Path through the hills to reach the final slightly snowy ascent up onto Moel Famau (Marilyn, Dewey), whose summit I reached just after midday.  The hill is crowned by the remains of the Jubilee Tower, which was built to celebrate the jubilee of George III in 1810 and today provided welcome shelter from the cold wind whilst I had my lunch!  After lunch I took a wander over to the trig point and also to the unmarked true summit near the tower.

Summit of Moel Famau
The path down Moel Famau was the widest so far, and it was easy to see why as there were literally hoards of people on their way up or down the hill from the conveniently sited car park.  Given it was so popular on such a cold day, I suspect it's somewhere to avoid on warm sunny weekends if you're a lover of solitude!

Summit of Foel Fenlli
After leaving the car park and the masses behind, I ascended up narrow paths through the heather to visit the summit of Foel Fenlli (Marilyn, Dewey) where it began to snow very lightly.  The views were again good, but most of the Snowdonia hills were now completely obscured by the cloud and I suspected that it was snowing somewhat heavier over them than here.

I dropped down to the south, before following field paths and a gorse banked track around Moel Eithinen to the A494 at Clwyd Gate.  After a brief walk along the busy road, the ascent began again in earnest!  The direct route to my final hill for the day, Moel Gyw, didn't look too pleasant given it was steep pathless bracken and heather!  Instead I opted to follow the Offa's Dyke Path around to the bwlch to the south of the hill, before following a good path up to the summit of Moel Gyw (Marilyn), which was marked by a trig point and a small nearby slightly higher cairn; I visited them both.

Summit of Moel Gyw
By now it was 3pm at it was looking somewhat unlikely that I would catch the last bus from Llandegla at 4pm given that it was over 8km away!  I continued to follow the Offa's Dyke Path as it contoured around Moel Llanfair and Moel y Pl√Ęs before reaching a radio mast and then a minor road.  In an attempt to get to Llandegla quicker, I opted to stick on the road for the last 3km rather than following the more circuitous field paths.

I rang for a taxi to meet me in Llandegla when I was about 2km away and had fun trying to arrange where to meet as their system couldn't cope that I didn't know the postcode for the village!  Eventually we settled on the post office as it was somewhere on my map and they thought that they should be able to find it!

Offa's Dyke Path signpost in Llandegla
I reached Llandegla just after 5pm, where there was a handy sign informing me that I had walked 29 miles from Prestatyn this weekend and it was only another 148 to go to Chepstow; however they would have to wait for other weekends!  My taxi arrived after a few minutes and the Polish driver was excited to learn that I had been snowed on this afternoon as he said he missed the snow!  I made the delayed six o'clock train from Wrexham, only to just miss my connection in Chester and thus I didn't get home until 8:30pm.  It had been a good couple of day's walking and I was glad that I had decided on the Offa's Dyke Path; I will have to return again soon to continue it.

Written on 01/02/12

7 comments:

  1. Phew! Enjoyed that.
    I did that in reverse back in 2007 as art of the LEJOG. I really liked those northern hills - a surprising amount of up & down, too.

    :-)

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    1. I was also pleasantly surprised by how nice the hills were, and how quiet they were! (well away from Moel Famau anyway)

      As you say there was a lot of ascent and descent - and some of it was very steep! Did you follow much of the Offa's Dyke Path on your LEJOG route?

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  2. Route map added and date of post changed to date of actual walk.

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  3. Cain't wait for more. How much was the taxi ?

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    1. Thanks. You're in luck as I spent this past weekend walking a further 3 days of the Offa's Dyke Path and updating my blog at the end of each day (although I've yet to have have the time to include the route maps and photos - hopefully by the end of the week...)

      I think the taxi was £18, which was quite a lot more than the bus fare of £3 that I paid to get back to Llandegla on Friday morning!

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  4. Hi Alistair

    Just dropped in for my first visit and will try to catch up on some of your trips over the coming days and weeks.

    I did the southern half of the Offa's Dyke (from Chepstow to Churchstoke) a few years back and really enjoyed it.

    Look forward to reading your blog on those sections - as you get to them!

    Jules

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    1. Hi Jules,

      Thanks for your comments. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the southern section of the path. I'm looking forward to it myself as, with the exception of the Black Mountains, I've never really walked around there. I've now just got to work out when I can fit another section in...

      Alistair

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